How to Prevent and Treat Split Ends

4 Dec

A Girl with Split EndsSplit ends are the result of things we do to our hair in the name of beauty, from over brushing to over processing. Preventing them is as simple as handling your hair with care; fixing them usually takes a trip to a salon.

Sometimes the more you do to your hair to get the look you want, the more likely you are to end up with a head full of frizzy locks with split ends. The reason for this lies in the anatomy of a hair strand.

Hair is made up of layers. The outer layer, called the cuticle, is composed of dead cells that overlap each other in much the same way that fish scales do. The cuticle helps protect the soft middle layer, or cortex, which is made up of long, coiled proteins. A split end happens when the protective cuticle is worn away at the end of a strand, allowing the fibers of the cortex to unravel and the hair to split lengthwise.

Preventing Split Ends

It all comes down to how you take care of your hair. Try the following gentle strategies:

  • Don’t shampoo every day. Daily washing strips hair of natural oils that help it look healthy. When you do shampoo, don’t forget conditioner: It can improve hair strength and increase shine.
  • After shampooing, wrap your hair in a towel instead of rubbing it dry. When hair is wet, it’s more elastic and more likely to break.
  • Don’t brush your hair when it’s wet. This can stretch the hair, making it break. Instead, comb it gently with a wide-tooth comb or wait until it’s dry to comb or brush it.
  • Wait until your hair is partially dry before you use a blow-dryer or curling iron. Using high heat on wet hair can make the water in the hair shaft heat up, leading to weak hair fibers that are likely to break off. If you use a curling iron, hold it in place for only a second or two to keep the heat from damaging your hair.
  • Go easy on the brushing. Forget brushing your hair 100 times every night. Contrary to what you may have heard about this making hair shine, it actually damages hair by stripping the cuticle away, causing split ends.
  • Avoid over processing your hair. Hair colors, bleach, perms, and relaxers all contain harsh chemicals that can damage hair fibers — and they work by first opening the cuticle so that the chemicals can reach the cortex. If these products are applied for too long, in too high a concentration, or too often, the result is dull, frizzy hair that can easily break, causing split ends.
  • Protect your hair from the sun. Too much of the sun’s rays can make hair dry, weak, and brittle. Instead, wear a wide-brimmed hat when you’re outdoors on sunny days.

Treating Split Ends

You can temporarily mend split ends with a leave-in hair conditioner. For a more permanent fix, visit your stylist for a trim to removed damaged ends. Then cut back on styling your hair until it looks healthy again.

As soon as you start to take better care of your hair, you’ll see the difference. With gentle handling, your hair will go from frizzy to fabulous.

One Response to “How to Prevent and Treat Split Ends”


  1. How to Take Care of Curly Hair | - February 25, 2013

    […] a great cut: Cut damaged ends frequently to prevent unwanted hair issues. Getting rid of split ends can prevent them from traveling to a higher level on your hair cuticle. If you’ve noticed that […]

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